Pastor Hal

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Lord, Cut Away . . .

Last night I arrived home at 10:20 PM...... I was tired but it was a good tired. I had just finished up a training session with the Fire Department. We were conducting a training evolution called "forced entry." There are times when firefighters arrive at a scene and in order to get to the fire they have to make a forced entry into the structure. So last night we were practicing breaking through doors and cutting through metal. One of the stations was using a hand-held circular saw to cut through the side of a school bus. When it was my turn the instructor said, "Hal, cut away . . .".  I was amazed at how sharp the blade was because it went through the metal pretty quickly.

When I got home I couldn't help but think of Hebrews 4:12, "For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart." God's word is a tool of forcible entry into our lives. It cuts to the issues that need to be addressed between us and our Lord. It is a power tool in the hands of the Holy Spirit to bring about conviction of sin, confirmation of God's character, and fuel or food for holy living.

I've been reflecting on the influence of Haddon Robinson on my life. He told a story of going to church one Sunday when he didn't want to be there because there was an issue he needed to square with the Lord. He was relieved because the pastor was absent and there was a young student preaching. Haddon said the student didn't preach with a lot of polish but he stayed on the text and he preached the scripture. Haddon said his response was he had to take a long drive that afternoon because God's word spoke powerfully to his heart. Remember what the training instructor said to me last night? "Hal, cut away . . .".

I pray that in my life and in your life we would have a heart to say, "Lord, cut away . . ".  We have finished a good summer and we are now heading into the routines of fall. I want to encourage you in the strongest way to renew your commitment to God's word. We have two excellent Sunday School classes taking place. Rock Tallman leads a class every Sunday where he systematically takes the class through a passage of scripture and there is good discussion. Starting in October Bob Pittman is going to teach for the whole month on the gospels. There are several small group opportunities during the week to be together in the scriptures. There is room for you. Community Bible Study also has several venues for engaging the scriptures. Katie Soliday can help you find the right venue. On a personal level, God help us to spend time regularly with him in his word. "Lord, cut away . . .".

Dr. Hal Irvine, Senior Pastor

Who Do You Trust?

Last night we had our fall kick off for the Middle School HUB. It was a great time of encouragement, a chance to introduce a wonderful group of volunteers from Ravencrest who will be helping out this year. What really spoke to me was the Bible study time led by Justin, a second year student. He was sharing about the life of Gideon. A couple of things struck me anew.

When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, (Judges 11:12) he addressed Gideon not as he was, but as the man God was going to make him into. What an encouragement that God does not just see what we see when we look in the mirror, He sees what He is going to do in our lives and how He is going to accomplish his purpose in our lives.

The second thing was that God orchestrated the battle so that it was obvious that the victory was not accomplished by human strength, but by the power of God. When God invites us to be a part of what He is doing, we are participating in something that cannot be accomplished by human effort. Those advances can only be accomplished by the Spirit's power.

When we truly see ourselves for the people who can do nothing without God, we will give Him all the praise and glory because He is the one who is using us to accomplish what He is doing in the world.

Pastor Doug

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